06/20/19: The NBA is offering up its archives for a new VR betting game, NBA last 90

CynopsisSports
Good morning. It’s Thursday June 20, 2019 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
 

The NBA and National Basketball Players Association are partnering with Highlight Games Limited, a specialist gaming supplier, to launch NBA Last 90 – an exclusive virtual sports betting game that will leverage actual NBA highlights and footage. The game is set to debut in U.S. and European gaming and lottery markets during the 2019-20 NBA season. Virtual sports gaming allows fans to bet on simulated sports events powered by a random number generator with NBA Last 90 set to feature an archive of NBA highlights and footage from recent NBA seasons with players able to wager on various outcomes, including which team will win, who will score on the first possession and the total number of points scored by both teams, during the last 90 seconds of a simulated matchup between two NBA teams.
 
“Virtual sports betting is incredibly popular in regions around the world and we’re looking forward to giving fans another innovative way to engage with the NBA,” said Scott Kaufman-Ross, Head of Fantasy & Gaming, NBA. “With NBA Last 90, Highlight Games has created a new spin on virtual sports basketball and delivered an authentic gaming experience utilizing real NBA content.”
 
 
PROGRAMMING

Hall of Fame basketball analyst Dick Vitale inked a contract extension with ESPN through the 2021-22 season, where he will continue working as a game analyst on key matchups. “I’m so honored and proud to be a little spoke in the big wheel that ESPN is in the world of sports,” said Vitale. “ESPN is my second family, and all the beautiful people I’ve have the opportunity to work with over the years are so important to me.”
 
In other talent news, former NFL wide receiver and captain Andrew Hawkins joined NFL Media in a multi-platform role. Beginning in July, Hawkins will host a variety of content on NFL Media’s digital and social channels, including new show formats and other engaging VOD content.The two-time Sports Emmy Award nominee will also appear as an analyst on various NFL Network shows such as NFL Total Access and Good Morning Football.
 
CBS Sports and the BIG3 unveiled their broadcast team for the 2019 season, which begins on Saturday at 8p on CBS. The team will again feature longtime play-by-play announcer Brian Custer, analyst Jim Jackson and sideline reporter Michael Rapaport, who will all return for their third campaigns. The lineup will also include new adds Carter Blackburn, Brendan Haywood, Brandon Tierney, Avery Johnson and Ed Cohen. During the 11-week season, games will air live on CBS Television Network and CBS Sports Network on both Saturday and Sunday, with a champion crowned live on CBS on Sept. 1.
 
In ratings news, FS1 notched its best group stage metered market rating for the FIFA Women’s World Cup with Brazil’s win over Italy. Through match day 12, the channel is averaging a 36%uptick over non-US group stage numbers from 2015 and overall FOX Sports is generating numbers that are 12% higher than the 2015 group stage average.
 
ABC’s presentation of the Seattle Storm/Connecticut Sun on June 16 was up 129% over last year’s fourth WNBA game on ESPN2, according to Nielsen. Sunday’s matchup averaged 471,000 viewers and the first four games of the season across ABC and ESPN2 have now averaged 426,000 viewers, up 74% over last year’s coverage at this time of the season.
 
YouTube and Major League Baseball announced the first three matchups for their first-ever exclusive live game streaming distribution partnership: The MLB Game of the Week Live on YouTube. The package includes free live broadcasts of 13 games exclusively on YouTube during the second half of the 2019 MLB regular season. The opening lineup includes Dodgers/Phillies on July 18, Indians/Blue Jays on July 23 and Tigers/Angels on July 29. Each broadcast will feature a variety of announcers, analysts and reporters. In the booth for the Dodgers at Phillies game on July 18 will be MLB Network play-by-play announcer Scott Braun, Orel Hershiser and John Kruk.
 
Ahead of tonight’s NBA Draft, Stadium announced a special “Inside The Association: NBA Draft Special” that will run at 7p. The four-hour special will be anchored from Stadium’s United Center studio in Chicago with college basketball insider Jeff Goodman hosting a panel of experts including Vanderbilt Head Coach Jerry Stackhouse, Ohio State Head Coach Chris Holtman, former Kings and 76ers executive Brandon Williams and Atlanta Hawks rising star Kevin Huerter.
 
Meanwhile, CBS Sports HQ will stream in-depth coverage leading into and throughout the 2019 NBA Draft, including real-time draft grades for every pick and commentary from a team of NBA and college basketball insiders. Beginning at 6:30p, the streaming platform will offer extensive analysis and news updates throughout both rounds of the Draft. Live coverage will be led by anchor Hakem Dermish and CBS Sports basketball writers Gary Parrish and Matt Norlander along with Avery Johnson.
 
In streaming news, FloSports and Port City Raceway announced a six-year partnership to provide live and on-demand coverage of events on FloRacing.com. Fans will have access to more than 30 live events per year that take place between March and October through 2025. “FloSports is excited to continue to expand upon its racing content coverage of motorsports, bringing even more events to FloRacing’s live event schedule,” FloSports Senior Director, Global Rights Acquisition, Monica Bloodgood said. “This partnership is a great example of how media rights can be used to expose and engage hundreds of thousands of FloSports subscribers from all over the world to Port City Raceway and its events.”
 
TeamWorks Media announced a new content series with Minor League Baseball to expand the scope and reach of MiLB’s Copa de la Diversion program. Beginning this week, MiLB and La Vida Baseball are producing two weekly dedicated shows of La Vida Baseball Live, the daily four-hour show produced and formatted for every major social media platform to tell the story of the teams involved. Between 1-2p on Monday and Friday each week, teams participating in the Copa will join La Vida Baseball Live hosts to discuss their new-look logos/personas, the new elements added to the ballpark experience for the Copa and community engagement as part of the organization’s Copa experience.
 
Mexico’s Lucha Libre AAA announced that its wrestlers will be “Invading LA” at The Forum in Los Angeles on October 13 starting at 6p. “By adding the October 13th date, we can reach even more fans in the United States. We are excited to be bringing our world-renowned luchadores to the world-famous Forum in Los Angeles,” said Dorian Roldán, Managing Director of Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide. “The theme for these events is Invading the U.S.A and our luchadores are ready to invade New York and LA.  What better way to satisfy the increasing demand of our Triple A fans in the U.S. than to be featured at these iconic venues.”
 
World Wrestling Entertainment and FOX Sports locked in a multi-year agreement to continue broadcasting WWE’s weekly flagship programming live on FOX Sports in Latin America. In addition to airing Raw and Smackdown Live each week FOX will also air the localized production, WWE Saturday Night, as well as Main Event and NXT. The new partnership also includes one-hour versions of Raw and SmackDown, and plans for a new 30-minute localized highlights show.
 
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Join us Monday night, September 9th to honor the outstanding contributions by women in every facet of the media industry — TV, digital/tech, esports, sports, marketing and more. These are the women making bold decisions at every level – from corporate visionaries to rising stars — driving their businesses forward.

This will be the biggest gala event celebrating women in the industry. Don’t miss it!
 

SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

The PGA TOUR’s developmental tour is getting a new partner. The Web.com Tour will now be known as the Korn Ferry Tour, courtesy of a new 10-year deal that runs through 2028 that sees Korn Ferry, a global organizational consulting firm, become the PGA Tour’s official marketing partner. The company will assume sponsorship of the developmental circuit’s Tour Championship, the third and final event of the Korn Ferry Tour Finals.
 
The Cleveland Cavaliers detailed plans to celebrate their 50th anniversary in a season-long celebration that will include theme nights dedicated to remembering five eras of Cavs history that began in 1970 when the team first joined the league as an NBA expansion team, serving up content and activities, in-game moments with special reunions being planned, commemorative giveaways and more.
 
The Southland Conference agreed to a multi-year marketing and sponsorship sales agreement with Van Wagner Sports & Entertainment. As the Conference’s exclusive agent, Van Wagner will negotiate and manage select multimedia rights beginning July 1, as well as serve as the conference’s corporate sponsorship representative.
 
Austin FC, the city’s first major league team and the latest club set to enter Major League Soccer, selected Excel Sports Management to work alongside Austin FC’s existing partnership team while serving as Austin FC’s exclusive national and international third-party sales agency for stadium naming rights and jersey sponsorship.
 
 
DIGITAL, DATA & STREAMING

ESPN unveiled nominees for The 2019 ESPYS presented by Capital One with fan voting now open at ESPYS.com. Highlights this year include – for the first time since 1994 –all the nominees for “Best Male Athlete” are newcomers to the category: Patrick Mahomes, Mookie Betts, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Brooks Koepka. In “Best Female Athlete,” newcomer Alex Morgan joins a field of returning nominees, including Breanna Stewart, Simone Biles, and Mikaela Shiffrin.
 
Reed Exhibitions selected Buffalo Agency to reimagine “PGA Show Insider,” the monthly digital newsletter featuring industry news, themes and profiles of exhibitors at the annual PGA Merchandise Show (Orlando) and PGA Fashion & Demo Experience (Las Vegas). “PGA Show Insider allows brands to engage buyers and further cultivate relationships through more frequent editorial and advertising,” says Marc Simon, PGA Golf Exhibitions Event Vice President.  “Buffalo’s rich understanding of the golf industry, and skilled storytelling about the people, products and companies in golf, create sought-after content.”

 
ESPORTS

In this week’s edition of Cynopsis Esports
  • Metarama Gaming + Music Festival opens with All-Star lineup
  • ELEAGUE prepares to serve up Gears opener
  • Last day for Tempest Award nominations!
  • E3 winners
  • Upper Deck offers views of Overwatch League
  • Bebo feels the Twitch
  • Epic Games lands Houseparty
  • ReKTGlobal adds to the band
  • TV Azteca joins Allied forces
 
INDUSTRY/ROSTER MOVES

XFL Houston team president, today announced that former Houston Astros executive Jennifer Germer has joined his team as the team’s marketing director.  In her new position, Germer will lead XFL Houston’s marketing and community relations including integrated marketing functions, brand marketing, digital and social marketing, fan engagement and activations locally.
 
 
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Sweden/US square off at 3p on FOX, UDN and UniMas, while ESPN carries the 2019 NBA Draft presented by State Farm at 7:30p.

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